Big series for parents – help, is my child more ‘phone’ than smart?

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During the holidays, many parents shared their observations in the restaurant, on the beach or in the outdoor pools with the “crown”: instead of using their free time, the children spend hours like zombies on their smartphones. Discouraging it can cause minor and major crises. More and more parents are wondering: “Is my child actually more ‘phone’ than smart?

“The first thing our children looked for in the holiday home in Croatia was the router,” says Ruth H. from Waidhofen an der Ybbs. “I hardly dared to say that there is not. But I had no choice. Then the first one started crying,” says the hairdresser. Her sons are nine and fourteen years old, nothing works without a mobile phone.

This is not as noticeable in everyday life as on vacation. Because the young people can hardly be convinced to undertake joint activities. “But it came in handy on the ride here. Oh yes, it was quiet in the car. But now it’s just annoying,” says Ruth H. In fact, she had imagined the first family vacation after the pandemic differently.

Our children are increasingly online
Smartphones and tablets have long been more popular with the youngest than skateboards and trampolines. According to the Upper Austrian Children’s Media Study 2020, which was carried out by the Market Institute on behalf of the Education Group, more than half of eight to ten year olds have their own mobile phone or smartphone. The display is often the first thing you look at in the morning, and often the last thing in the evening.

Parents often lay the foundations for this close ‘relationship’ with technical devices in childhood. Because more and more smartphones and the like are used as babysitters. Hanging out the laundry, cooking something or taking a short drive – all this goes much more smoothly if the little ones are allowed to watch a few YouTube videos or use game apps. Even toddlers who can barely stand can skillfully handle adult cell phones, clicking and swiping like they’ve never done anything else.

Sabine Kainz is a clinical and health psychologist specializing in children and adolescents. ‘From a developmental point of view, nothing can be said about how young children deal with digital media.’ Because the expert knows: at this age they process still images – including, for example, picture books, but also facial expressions. expressions and gestures – better than moving. “Of course, the subject of digital media becomes more important from kindergarten onwards, but you have to use it very sparingly.”

The internet is full of opportunities, but also full of dangers. Parents need to know these in order to act correctly and proactively. Read more about it: All stories in the linkbox!

“But I also don’t mind if children from primary school age are no longer allowed to use their mobile phones at all – nowadays we are simply confronted with digitization. That is a fact,” says Sabine Kainz. “But what kids need to learn is to self-regulate.” That means consciously consuming media and then turning it off again, even if you may not feel like it.

The rules can be broken when traveling or in exceptional situations such as illness, says Sabine Kainz, because: “Life does not always consist of strict things, and on vacation, for example, you sometimes eat two ice creams a day.” , parents have to persevere when the child is bored. “It is important that children learn to deal with inner tension and boredom,” explains Sabine Kainz.

Source: Krone

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